Technology has undeniably helped businesses streamline their processes better, leading them to success. Real estate is not an exception, especially when it comes to automating your deals. In today’s episode, Julie Houston is with millionaire real estate investor, Blair Halver, to talk about how they utilize technology in their deal flow process. He also shares his expertise in the real estate world and gives helpful tips in securing the best deals for properties you want to buy. Plus, Blair introduces the concept of creative financing, which can create win-win situations for both realtors and property sellers. Tune in to find out how to maximize your real estate investing deals.
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Automating Your Deal Flow With Blair Halver
I am excited about the guest that you are about to meet in this episode. This is somebody that we have worked with for several years in various capacities. We have had incredible success working with him. Blair Halver, welcome to the show. It’s such an honor to have you with us.
Thank you so much, Julie. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here. I’m glad to come on in and talk about what we got going on.
I’m excited to hear it. Before we dive into all the good stuff, can you tell me a little bit about your background, about yourself, where you came from and how you ended up where you are?
I got into real estate investing back in 2008. I bought my first rental site unseen at a weekend seminar out of state right before the big crash. I ended up doing a short sale on it a few years later. I always like to start with that because I want everybody to know you don’t have to do every deal perfectly. You learn along the way. If you keep going, you end up in a much better place than if you’d never tried in the first place.
Here we are, however many years later, since 2008. We got a real estate portfolio. We’re doing deals with our students. We’ve got a whole coaching program. It’s gone well. Primarily, we focus on creative finance strategies and creative finance deals. We’ll wholesale a deal every now and then. On a rare occasion, we’ll rehab a deal. We love the creative financing stuff because we can make about ten times the profit on a deal as opposed to a regular wholesale or fix and flip. That’s our area of expertise. I’ve been in the business a long time and come to enjoy the business and all the contacts I’ve made.
I’ll tell you a secret I’ve never shared. I’ve never wholesaled a deal in my life. I got to know. All this background from when you started to where you’re at, how is your business doing? Are you thriving in doing real estate deals, creative financing and creative structuring and having success?
Yes. In this market, half my real estate friends think the market’s going to go up and the other half thinks it’s going to crash here imminently. The way to position yourself for that is to incorporate creative finance strategies because, in a down market, that’s where you want to be. You don’t want to be playing the cash game in a down market because you got to buy lower. It’s like trying to catch a falling knife.
As opposed to creative financing, whether we’re buying sub-to, lease option or seller finance, we’re trying to put as little cash into the deal as possible and get long payoff terms. If we think the market’s going to go down, we need a long time. We need 5, 10 or 15 years to pay that house off so that the market has time to come back up. It’s all about hedging your bets on which way the market’s going to go.
At the end of the day, it boils down to being able to buy it at as low a price as you can get. If you can put as little cash as possible into the deal, you minimize your risk on every deal you do. You’re not sweating when the market tanks and everything’s going down because you’re still cashflowing on all your properties. It’s a house you got for free anyway so what does it matter? That’s the way we look at it. That’s what’s going on in our business. We’re ready for the storm but we’re also ready for it to kick back up if it decides to go that way. Who knows what’s going to happen?
It sounds like, in your business, you’re in a position where you’re good regardless of what happens to the market if it goes up, down or crashes sideways. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? How have you been able to position yourself to be in the no matter what market?
We call it transactional engineering. The simple definition is being able to take a seller’s lead whichever way the deal needs to go. If they have enough equity for a cash deal and it’s a beat-up, ugly house that needs a bunch of rehabs, we’re going to take it down the cash deal route. If they don’t have enough equity for a cash deal but the house is in decent shape, we’re going to normally invest in a wholesaler rehab or wouldn’t be able to do anything with that deal. As transactional engineers, we can use creative financing to create win-win scenarios with us and the seller and make a boatload of money that way.
The flip side of that definition or the alternative definition of a transactional engineer is not being able to take a seller’s lead whichever way it needs to go but being able to adapt to the marketplace whichever way it goes. The wholesalers and rehabbers know one game. It’s the cash game. As transactional engineers, we can adapt to the market at a moment’s notice. If the market goes up, down or sideways, it doesn’t matter to us because we’re going to play the market as it is and not try to play it as we want it to be.
You have more control over your deals and your deal flow almost as well.
Think about the person who purchased a house in 2021. Here is 2023 and they paid a high price for that but because of the hot market in ’21, they owe a lot on the house. Let’s say the value tanks on the house. What are they going to do? They need to sell it. There’s nothing that a traditional investor can do other than a short sale, which is a whole other process dealing with the banks. It takes months. It’s a big pain in the neck. We stay away from short sales.
We create equity by being able to buy with seller financing and then turn around and sell it with seller financing. Whenever you sell something with financing built in, it inherently increases the value of that thing. We can create an equity spread even if there is very little equity in the deal as it sits with a market value over what they owe in the house. We create equity that way.
I got to ask this, though. I’m curious. For curious minds, they want to know. We’re all familiar with when we had that phase where everybody was buying and selling and interest rates were going through the roof. We’re finding a lot of homeowners in homes that can’t afford the note, the interest rate and the maintenance. Are you finding a lot of deals like that as well?
The ones we’re finding are usually people who bought before interest rates started going up. It was much easier to get a loan and much easier to qualify for a loan at those lower rates. This is one of the biggest opportunities we’re looking at here as we pick up more deals. A motivated seller comes to us and they bought it with a 3% or 4.5% loan.
With interest rates, where are they up at? It’s 6% or 7%. We need a traditional investor out there who’s going to go get traditional financing, whether it’s a bank, a mortgage company or even a hard money lender. They’re going to be paying those higher rates whereas we can come in, buy the house subject to existing debt and take over that debt that has a 3% or 4% interest rate.
If it’s already got a couple of years paid down on the loan, we step into the seller’s shoes, buying at sub-to. If they have any equity, we’ll give them a carryback that we pay off whenever we cash out at some point in the future. We get into these deals no-money-down and take over the existing debt. We stepped into an asset that we got for free with a super low-interest rate compared to current rates out there.
Creative Investing is one of the missed key pieces for a lot of investors. They miss the boat on that and miss a lot of money, especially on the spread.
It’s not just the spread but also, if all you’re looking for is deep discount cash deals, you’re missing out on about 80% of the deals out there. In other words, you would quadruple the number of deals you do on a monthly basis if you could take the blinders off and open up the creative finance deals. There are a lot more creative finance deals out there than there are cash deals.
There are a lot more home sellers that wouldn’t mind selling with seller financing to get at a little bit higher price than the sellers who are willing to discount deep enough to get a good cash deal. You’re cutting yourself out from a lot of the deals out there by only focusing on cash deals. That’s why we say it’s so important. The key to this business and longevity in the business is being able to be that transactional engineer that can take the deal whichever way it needs to go.Don’t just focus on cash deals. You're cutting yourself out from a lot of good real estate deals that way. Click To Tweet
I love exactly what you’re saying too. I speak to a lot of investors and a lot of them will never even have a conversation like that. I got to ask. What are you using to do all this? What are you using to even make this whole system happen and flow? What is the secret sauce you’re keeping from me?
The secret sauce is knowing how to negotiate those deals. If you’ve never done a creative finance deal and all you’re used to are cash deals like, “How low of a price can I get,” then it becomes a matter of, “How do I not only figure out how to structure the deal properly with the seller so that they go for it but how do I explain it to them and get them to come along on board with this idea of taking a monthly payment for their house instead of getting all cash at closing?”
For most sellers, it’s a foreign concept. For years, as long as we’ve been doing this, we would use what we call our opening call and closing call script. If you’ve been in the real estate investing business for a while, you know that when you talk to these sellers, you get this seller leads in. It’s almost like a phone sales job. You’re talking to these sellers. You got to be good on the phone, answer their objections and get them to sell the house to you at a deep discount. If you’re going the creative finance route, get them to agree that this is the best option for them to take a monthly payment for their house instead of getting paid all cash.
For years, we’ve studied and formulated our scripts and the language patterns we use over the phone with the seller to get them to go for this kind of thing. It has been a couple of months. I was playing around one day with this new AI tech out there. I don’t know if you have heard of this yet on the ChatGPT and all that sort of thing. I was playing around with something related to that and I thought, “What if I could get this AI thing to negotiate the deal with the seller for me?”
If you’ve been in this business a while, talking to sellers is where you make your deal but it gets old sometimes. All these sellers have the same objections and all this and that. It gets a bit redundant. If you’re like me, I don’t like doing things more than once. I like to do one thing, move on and then try the next thing.
We started playing with this Ai tech. I was thinking, “What if this AI could negotiate with the seller?” We’ve been testing it out. We tested it out for a couple of months. Lo and behold, this new AI negotiation technology was negotiating deals better than we were over the phone. It was ridiculous to say, “You don’t have to go on the phone.”
The seller comes through this negotiator thing and they come to me with numbers that already make sense either for a deep discount cash deal or a no-money-down seller finance deal. By the time they come to me, I pick up the phone and call them. They’re 90% of the way to the finish line. Sometimes, we have a few extra questions about, “How’s this going to work?”
You want to verify everything. As a human, you want to look at, “Let’s verify the comps, the payment and everything.” Other than that, it’s like sending the contract and they sign. They’re ready to go. It’s cut out about 80% of our man hours every week talking to sellers on the phone. This has been a game-changer for us. This is 1 of 2 big needle movers I’ve seen in my career when it comes to getting deals and converting seller leads into deals. We’re excited about it.
I got to be honest. Bob had mentioned it to me. I was like, “I need to hear more about this.” For our audience that is reading, we are going to have more information that you can go to that is everything Blair and I are discussing. That’s at UndergroundWealthSecrets.net/Halver. I didn’t want to cut in and cut you off there but I want to talk to you. I laughed when you said the phone thing. I got to be honest. When I started investing, I was the one on the phone. A couple of years ago when my son was a freshman, I put him on the phone in the summer. I made him call people. It was the best thing I could figure out because I didn’t want to keep doing it.
How’d he do?
He did okay. For every house that he got a deal, either bought or sold, he earned. He did two houses. He was like, “I hate this job.”
That’s what a lot of investors find out after they get into it. They’re like, “I hate this.”
It’s game-changing for you and especially your time, your numbers and your business. I got to ask. Is there a deal that has stuck out since you created this incredible software that you could share with our audience since figuring this whole system out?
One of the deals that this thing produced for us didn’t seem like much of a deal. To be honest, it was more on the cash deal side. We had a huge spread on this thing. The last time I checked the stats on this negotiator, the average potential profit that was negotiated for us on the cash deal side was $70,000. That’s after repairs and after everything’s said and done.
This was one of those deals outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This lady came in as a seller lead from our Facebook ads. She went straight into our negotiator and came out the other end. She was asking $30,000 for a $120,000 house that needed $10,000 of work. That is a huge spread on that. We’ll probably end up wholesaling that off instead of rehabbing it. You take it down yourself and get a rehab going there. A couple of months later, it is a huge payday.
We’ve been impressed with how well the negotiator does in terms of getting people to lower their price enough for a cash deal. The other thing is if they don’t want to lower their price enough, then the negotiator asks if they want to convert over to a seller-finance deal and take a monthly payment for their house. It does both sides of the business. That deal in particular outside of Chattanooga sticks out in my mind because that had the biggest spreads that we have seen in a while on one of these deals.
Especially during this market, I hear a lot of different things from different people. It sounds like this tool is working in this market. I could imagine how it’s going to work when the market is even in a different place.
Half of my friends think the market’s going to tank. The other half thinks it’s going to go up. What that tells me is nobody knows what’s going to happen. We’re in a whole new world where the chairman of the Fed says one word wrong and then the market goes this way or that way. It’s ridiculous. Don’t get me started on all of that.We're in a whole new world where the chairman of the Fed says one word wrong and then the market goes this way or that way. Click To Tweet
That’s another episode. We’ll visit that in another episode.
We got to be ready to go either way, whether it is up, down, cash or terms. We got to be ready for anything.
It sounds like this is exactly what you need to be ready for anything. To our audience that is reading, for more information on this tool and everything that Blair has discussed that he is utilizing and having success in his business, you can find it at UndergroundWealthSecrets.net/Halver. If you could tell our audience, anybody starting out or even seasoned one piece of advice, what would your one piece of advice be? This is one of my favorite questions to ask.
I hate to make it all about attitude and mindset but the longer I’m in this business, the more I realize that that is the key piece that holds most people back. I remember starting. I’d ask my mentors, “What is the secret to the business? Tell me what to do. It’s tactical.” They tell me, “It’s all about your mindset.”
The motto that I’ve adopted since then is two words, expect success. That way, success becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It gets a little woo-woo. I don’t mean to go down that road but that is the key to this game. I’ve seen it go the other way where they expect the opposite of success and they spiral out of control, never do a deal and quit the business.
I always tell people, “Expect success and keep going.” I don’t mind guaranteeing success. As long as you keep going and don’t quit, you will eventually get there. There’s no question in my mind. It’s a matter of when. As long as you don’t quit and come in with that attitude of expecting success, to me, that is the key to the business.
That is incredible feedback. That’s a good suggestion. Before we close, do you have any final words that you would like to share with our viewers?
I was thinking about this before we got on the call here. It boils down to that attitude and mindset. Keep going. One of my early mentors, that was another motto of his that he instilled in me. It was those two words, keep going. That applies to real estate and any business you’re in. In any endeavor where you’re pursuing a goal, as long as you keep going, you’re going to get there.
The mentor of mine who told me this said, “This is something I learned from my mentor who flips skyscrapers.” He would buy and sell skyscrapers and make $5 million to $10 million on a flip. He started out doing single-family homes. You graduate to this and that and keep going. Pretty soon, you’ll look up and you’re like, “How many buildings do I have? What’s the net worth here? What’s all this?” It is crazy. That’s the secret if there ever was one. Keep going and expect success. I want to hammer that home because it’s so important.
I appreciate that. That’s incredible feedback too. That is probably the best I’ve heard. I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to meet with me, spend time with me and talk about your business. I appreciate it. It’s been such an honor having you on the show.
Thank you so much, Julie. I enjoyed this. I’m glad to be here and honored to be on the show.